Hiking Adventures, Part I
For the first time since I’ve been in the UK, I decided to go hiking back in August during the bank holiday extended weekend. It was a nice sunny day, hopped on the early 7:45 train to Hope, Peak District. Little did I know that was the start of my new hobby and passion, hiking; as I recently went to Peak District again, done Hope to Edale and the Edale Kinder Scout trails. More on this down bellow.
I tried to cover the most important aspects of my trip, but hiking is all about the moment and the experience. Hard to put into words the beauty of nature.
By far the best thing about going away from the day to day city craze, was the silence. After the train left the station, all I could hear was … nothing. Pure silence. It then occurred to me, that I have not, not heard something, in a very long time. I had forgotten what silence was; the pure tranquility sensation.
On the first Hike, I did the climb to Ladybower Dam and got to see quite a bit of nature, the rural areas around Hope and saw how friendly outdoorsy people are. Everyone would salute you and people were more than eager to give directions and help you.
After the rather easy hike to the dam, I went up to Win hill, where the view was very rewarding, as the climb is on some steep rocks trough a forested area with a stream of water on the side. From the peak you could see all around the valley and could even see the dam. The walk back down was much easier and quicker as it followed a path down and around the hill instead of climbing rocks.
I would say that the first hiking experience wasn’t that eventful, but nonetheless it was a special moment and the start of something beautiful.
Hope to Edale
This took place mid October on a cloudy day with some light rain. The hike was considerably longer than the first one (10km), and this time it involved walking across the peaks of Loose Hill. The view was nice, but due to the clouds and fog, visibility was limited.
The best part of this hike was the end destination, and what would end up becoming my new post-hike go to place.
The Rambler Inn
A nice cozy place, right next to Edale Station. The staff there are like a big family, they’re friendly and warm. The decor of the restaurant is homy and the food is just what you need after a long hike. On Sunday they have roast (pork or beef) with veggies and Yorkshire pudding. They also sell local ales (which are some of the best and most refreshing beers I’ve had). To get an idea of how good the beer is, I asked if they sell bottles of the stuff (sadly no), so next time I’ll see if I can bring my own bottle 🍺.
They are welcoming people, “muddy boots are welcome” and “dogs are welcome”.
Edale Kinder Scout
Last weekend I spontaneously decided to go hiking again. I simply craved it, weather was good (by UK standards) and train tickets were still cheap. So I did it. Since my last hike I even invested in a hydration pack and some light, foldable, and strong hiking poles (which came in handy!).
The hike started off with a superb walk above a brook, trees with red, orange and yellow leaves, you get to cross a couple of rustic looking wooden bridges. The brooks valley even gets narrower and the hills on both sides are quite steep, giving an amazing feel when walking between em.
About 2km in, the hike transforms into a little bit of a climb. The path becomes one with the brook and you have to carefully navigate your way from rock to rock on the brook. Then the elevation begins to take off, you start climbing up some rocks, with the brook still there. Making this a treacherous climb where one must be very confident in every move. The climb is about 1km with an elevation gain of 500m. For me that’s the steepest path I had to take so far, but the climb is full of breathtaking scenery and as you go higher you get to see more and more of where you came from.
Upon reaching the peak, you realise it’s actually a plateau and you can see the entire valley where you walked. A little further in, most people will proceed to climb to an even higher peak, but not me. My trail map said go right and so I did.
What was I expecting? From the map, I knew the trail would pass trough the Kinder Scout Reservation. I expected a nice area, abundant in vegetation and tall trees, you know a reservation.
What did I get?
The path I followed (at this point alone, as everybody else would go in the opposite direction) was next to a water stream and as such the ground was rather muddy and soft. Then the trail map said go west and so I did. After a while I found myself in a rather muddy area, with no visible path and no obvious direction to follow. The sun was still out and I was about 1/3 of the trail in so I pushed forward.
After a kilometre of walking trough some rather shitty conditions (mud and weird terrain), fog set in out of a sudden; combined with the lack of a path and the only direction I knew being WEST, I pushed on like any sane person would do.
Not 5 minutes later I was in the middle of a post-apocalyptic scenario. Fog everywhere, terrain at this point was composed of dunes of mud combined with little streams of water and random ponds surrounded by quicksand like mud.
This is when it hit me. I am in a swamp.
There were many questions going on in my head at the time:
- Why did Mother Nature put a swamp at 500+m on a plateau?
- Why is this part of a trail?
- What am I still doing here?
I realised that I might not have the time (sunset was 2-3 hours away) to juggle around the terrain of the swamp, so I took a split second decision and I started going SOUTH in the hopes of intersecting with the public footpath sooner rather than later.
After adventuring trough the swamp like a mad man, trying to reach some solid ground. Getting mud all over my boots and pants, finding a rather suspicious metal box under some rocks and getting bad looks from frogs, I eventually got out of the fog, away from the mud and reached the Pennine footpath where I slowly walked my way back to Edale.
It was definitely an experience that I will not forget. And honestly I would do it again, this time going trough the entire swamp and maybe even see what’s in the box.
I didn’t cover the entire trip, there were other sights to see, like Jacob’s ladder and the High Peak area.
More hiking stories to come (with full HD videos of the entire trip).